Icarus Cup Achieves New Records

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Doing more with much less, British pilots at this year’s Icarus Cup follow in Paul MacCready’s aerial path, staging a highly successful weeklong demonstration of human-powered flight.  Airplanes that fly on about a quarter-kilowatt for as long as the human battery can operate the pedals are not new, and significant records have been achieved over the years. The British have long been involved, beginning with the 590 meters flight by Derek Piggott on November 9, 1961 in SUMPAC (Southampton University’s Man Powered Aircraft – note the sexist terminology of the day).  This was considered the first authenticated takeoff and flight by a human powerplant.  He made 40 flights before suffering a crash that damaged a wing. To help foster interest …

An American HPA Takes Flight

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Alec Proudfoot made a 233-meter (764-feet), 37-second flight in his DaSH PA (Dead Simple Human-Powered Airplane) on December 4 at Half Moon Bay Airport west of San Francisco.  The 33.3 meter (108.27 feet) wingspan (it can be extended to 40 meters, or 131.23 feet) aircraft did well until a weak flange on the vertical tail mount failed. Alec reported his personal state of readiness and some details of the flight in an email to the British Human Powered Flying Club.  “…pilot max weight at just above 90 kg (me, out of shape and about 15 lbs. heavier than optimal). “It flew a lot easier than expected (meaning less power required than I thought it would) and handled great. A bit …

2015 British Human Powered Flying Club Rally

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Human-powered flight is about as green as it gets, although the pilot/powerplant does emit CO2 and some methane during the exercise.  A human pilot can put out only about 0.25 to 0.5 horsepower for reasonable periods, with the record holders like Brian Allen flying The 70-lb Gossamer Albatross in its 26-mile cross-channel flight in 2 hours, 49 minutes,.and Olympic cyclist Kanellos Kanellopoulos of Greece flying 71.5 miles between Crete and Santorini in 3 hours, 54 minutes on April 23, 1988.  The flight holds the official FAI world records for total distance, straight-line distance, and duration for human-powered aircraft. The British Human Powered Flying Club holds a gathering of the hopeful every year, this year at Lasham Airfield, between London and Winchester.  Depending on how one …

A New British Club for HPAs

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

For the last six decades, the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) has overseen records keeping for human powered aircraft (HPAs).  They report, “The Man Powered Aircraft Group of the Royal Aeronautical Society originated in 1959 when the members of the Man Powered Group of the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield were invited to become a group of the Society. Its title was changed from ‘Man’ to ‘Human’ in 1988 in recognition of the many successful flights by woman pilots.” Mr. Henry Kremer turned the wistful dreams of many to serious competition by donating over 275,000 pounds sterling ($440,000 at today’s exchange rates) in prize money for achievements such as flying a figure eight around to markers a half-mile apart and starting …